Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has been caught in apparent violation of federal laws governing campaign fundraising, and now, she is facing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission over the issue. Political candidates and elected officials are not permitted to ask for individual donations higher than $5,000, but late last year, Greene appeared in a series of video ads for the Stop Socialism Now PAC, which accepts (and is allowed to accept) donations of any amount. “Super” political action committees (super PACs) like the “Stop Socialism Now” group are generally not permitted to directly coordinate with candidates.
Elected officials are not allowed to solicit unlimited donations. But Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene appeared in a scripted super PAC ad that explicitly asks for money. https://t.co/OhY7cnezDV
— ProPublica (@propublica) May 22, 2021
Greene’s direct solicitation of unlimited donations for the super PAC is a problem. The ads where Greene appeared coincided with the lead-up to the Georgia Senate elections in January; Greene represents a Congressional district in the state. A government watchdog group known as Common Cause has now filed a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission over the issue. Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn commented as follows:
‘The United States Supreme Court has been very clear in upholding candidate contribution limits and prohibitions on candidates soliciting funds outside those limits because such contributions lead to corruption and undermine the faith of Americans in the political process.’
Paul S. Ryan, a campaign finance expert who works with Common Cause, had previously told ProPublica in reference to the ads that the “communication constitutes an illegal solicitation by a member of Congress of unlimited funds.” Notably, Ryan added that he had “never before seen a candidate reading a super PAC’s script in an ad that explicitly asks for money,” as ProPublica summarizes it.
Although one Republican campaign finance lawyer expressed to ProPublica that they believed Greene’s ad appearances to be legal, Erin Chlopak of the advocacy group known as the Campaign Legal Center added as follows to the publication:
‘Even if a super PAC can accept, a federal candidate can’t solicit — that is clear and indisputable. The whole basis for these organizations to exist is acting independently and not in coordination with federal candidates. The weaker we make that, or the lack of rules that really require such independence, then the entire premise of why they’re allowed to accept unlimited contributions falls apart.’
This issue is not the only similar problem that has recently emerged involving Greene. A recent report from the Atlanta-area outlet WSB-TV revealed that Greene and her husband had two active homestead tax exemptions, which is illegal. Homestead exemptions are only legally applicable to a single piece of property at a time: the taxpayer or taxpayers’ primary residence.
It is unclear whether Greene garnered any benefits from the illegal dual exemptions, since the tax filing deadline covering 2020 (when the second property was purchased) had not passed at the time of the report from WSB-TV. A Greene spokesperson eventually claimed that Fulton County (where one of the exemptions was based) hadn’t responded to a request to cancel Greene’s homestead exemption in their county, but it’s unclear what may have actually been requested of local authorities. Greene’s spokesperson also claimed the issue had “now been corrected.”